The Cavs’ first two playoff games have shown just how difficult defending their NBA title is going to be. Cleveland is up 2-0 over the Indiana Pacers, but both games have come down to the final minutes.
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the Cavs’ regular season struggles are evident early in these playoffs, but the Cavs have some time to settle in:
The slogan for the Cavs’ postseason is “Defend the Land.” And Pluto says players need to start taking that literally. “They better start defending somebody.”
“Indiana is not an offensive powerhouse, and they’re throwing up 110 points against the Cavs. Indiana shot nearly 50 percent from the field and rarely do you consistently win when your opponent is making half their shots. Right now, the Cavs are basically outscoring them.”
The Cavs's defense during the regular season ranked 22nd out of 30 teams. Last year, Cleveland was 10th.
"Each playoff game is pass/fail. This is not figure skating. There’s no style points. They had two tests, they passed them both. They have to pass two more in this series."
The LeBron factor
Pluto says LeBron James has been to the playoffs 11 times in his career and he's never lost a first-round series.
“Michael Jordan can’t say that. Magic Johnson can’t say that. You really don’t like Indiana’s chances right now. That’s reason for hope.”
Still, Pluto says he’s concerned.
The playoffs are basically a two-month mini season. "It takes four rounds to get to the finals and win. You have to win 16 games. The thinking is, the Cavs have time."
“One NBA person said to me, ‘The Cavs don’t have to beat the Golden State Warriors in April. They have to beat them in June. They aren’t ready to beat them in April. They may be in June.’
"I’ve been skeptical of this team all year. I don’t like teams that have really bad defensive habits. And they have them.”